Effort Begins to Establish a New Domestic Violence Shelter in Oxford

August 16, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. — A woman in Oxford is working to establish a domestic violence shelter in the city after the state shut one down in July.

The Oxford Domestic Violence Project was closed for not paying taxes and failing to register as a charitable organization before soliciting funds. There were also claims of misuse of funds and an unreported child abuse conviction of a board member. Domestic Violence Project officials signed a consent agreement and stipulated to the allegations made against the organization to avoid a ruling of any wrongdoing.

Now, Terry J.W. Buffington, is working with Pat O’Quinn Shields, who helped open the first shelter in Oxford in the mid-1980s, to bring a shelter back. The Oxford Eagle reports that a meeting last week drew several community leaders. Another meeting is set for the end of the month as Buffington and others work to help assemble a new board.

“We are going to be very selective as to who is on this board,” Buffington told The Oxford Eagle (http://bit.ly/o2RgdD ). She added that she hopes to be able to have all board members bonded. “I’m willing to help and be in the background, but I’m too old to head up a shelter now. I am hoping someone steps up and can get this off the ground. We need people on this board who are going to do this because they care about their community and victims of domestic abuse.”

Buffington said the board’s biggest challenge will be to win back the trust of the community.

“We have to overcome this debacle that went on,” she said. “We want to restore the integrity of the project and to let people know there will be no association to the old shelter. I’m not here to talk about what happened in the past. This is about the present and the future and how to move forward and bring back services that are desperately needed here now. I’d rather die than let something like that happen again.”

Source: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/3c30e7254dbb4a3081c1e53ad5f2b172/MS–Domestic-Violence-Shelter/